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Spring 2008 | Viva Diva!

Spring 2008 | Viva Diva!

For the ultimate fan pilgrimage, celebrate the lives and times of gay-popular icons old and new at these carefully (sometimes obsessively) curated private collections and diva museums.

The Barbra Shop
Palm Springs, Calif.
Say "Hello, gorgeous!" to the Barbra Shop in Palm Springs, featuring a fanatical collection of gowns, headpieces, playbills, albums, and artwork, including period-defining busts from San Francisco's now closed Streisand museum. Want more? Impassioned owner Louis J. Papalas charges just $20 (which can be applied to a purchase, all profits from which go to charity) for private warehouse tours showcasing more than 50,000 other items.

Britney Spears Exhibit
Kentwood, La.
Catch highlights from the pop starlet's pre-pantieless days at her hometown's Kentwood Historical and Cultural Arts Museum. Highlights include a scale replica of the Dream Within a Dream tour stage, trophies, family photos, and platinum records -- minus the tabloid fury.

Chasing Rainbows Museum
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
With extensive interactive exhibits such as the sing-along stage and a wig station, the Chasing Rainbows museum -- located within the Great Smoky Mountains theme park Dollywood -- takes Dolly Parton drag to a fan-tastic level, retracing her hardscrabble rise from east Tennessee obscurity to become country music's reigning diva.

Cher Shrine
Los Angeles
Los Angeles-based Javier Ozuna's "Cher Shrine" -- a highlight of 2006's Cher Convention -- is a never-ending farewell tour in its own right. Private tours of the collection, partially housed in his Burbank apartment, may be arranged via e-mail. Prepare to be overwhelmed by a selection of his 6,000-plus Cher magazines, 300 dolls, mugs, posters, and kitsch sent in and collected from around the world over the past 30 years.

The Legendary Joan Crawford collection
San Francisco
The clippings, cigarette cards, rare vintage photos, letters, film reels, and scrapbooks of 32-year-old San Francisco resident and Crawford devotee Neil Maciejewski's expansive collection (pictured, left) prove just why this classic Hollywood "mommie" truly was the dearest. Get a history lesson and a preview of the wares on his website, then e-mail for a private viewing at his Noe Valley home.

Judy Garland Museum
Grand Rapids, Minn.
The Smithsonian may have her ruby slippers, but there's no place like home, especially the restored Grand Rapids childhood home and birthplace of Judy Garland (n?e Frances Gumm). The Judy Garland Museum's two-acre campus features the world's largest collections of "Wizard of Oz" memorabilia and personal effects from "America's Treasure," in addition to an Oz-themed garden.

Liberace Museum
Las Vegas
Wait, Liberace was gay? Shining a candelabra on the clueless, this very Vegas museum (located in a mini mall and topped by a pink neon piano, no less) explores the divo pianist's stage and screen success with a bounty of antique pianos, classic cars, and private papers, plus gobs of dazzling stage jewelry and signature costumes dripping in rhinestones. Think Graceland, only gayer.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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